US president, Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated General Joseph Dunford for the chairman of the joint chief of staff.
While announcing the nominee, Obama said that Dunford is “one of the most admired officers in our military” and a “proven leader of our joint forces”.
According to Guardian, Dunford, 59, has served as commandant of the marine corps since October, and if confirmed by the Senate will succeed army general Martin Dempsey, who plans to retire. Dempsey leaves a slew of challenges for Dunford to inherit, including the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the air campaign against Isis in the Middle East, and the encroaching military influences of Russia and China in eastern Europe and Asia respectively.
“I know Joe, I trust him,” Obama said. “He’s already proven his ability to give me his unvarnished military advice based on his experience on the ground.”
Before assuming command of the marine corps, Dunford led American forces and the international coalition in Afghanistan from February 2013 to August 2014, and worked with Obama as US troops pulled out of the country. The US plans to reduce its forces in Afghanistan to 5,500 “non-combat” troops by the end of 2015, down fromalmost 100,000 in 2010.
Dunford also has a reputation for a keen sense of strategy and an understanding of modern warfare, with Obama saying he is “one of our military’s most highly regarded strategic thinkers”. In addition to his 38 years of experience, Dunford has degrees from St Michael’s College, Georgetown University and Tufts University.
Obama also nominated air force general Paul Selva, the head of the military’s transportation command, to serve as vice-chairman, replacing current vice-chairman James Winnefeld. A former cargo and aerial tanker pilot, Selva is a relative rarity among air force chiefs who predominantly served as fighter and bomber pilots. From 2008 to 2011 he was assistant to the chairman and top military adviser to then secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Both generals would serve for a two-year term, seeing Obama through the end of his presidency; like Dempsey, most generals serve two terms.